From £19,7807
Even in entry-level form, VW's Scirocco coupé offers decent power and impressive real-world economy

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Scirocco

Golf-based coupe comes at a surprisingly tempting price, but can it revive a classic name?

9 October 2014

What is it?

The latest version of VW’s affordable coupé. Indeed, the Scirocco nameplate is now in its 40th year, making it the same age as the Golf on which it is based.

Today’s Scirocco is based on the previous generation Mk5/6 Golf, rather than the current MQB-based model, but its crash-test performance is still impressive and it benefits from a multi-link rear axle, unlike some of the cheaper MQB-based cars.

The petrol, turbocharged and EU6-rated 1.4TSI is the entry-level model, which gets 17-inch alloys, LED rear lights, automatic lights and wipers, stop-start, battery energy recuperation tech and a usefully comprehensive audio system. 

This latest model has received re-designed bumpers and lights and has a new three-dial instrument cluster (a chronometer, boost gauge and temperature gauge) which nod to the original Scirocco model.

What's it like?

This is a very pleasant machine. Easy going, comfortable, stylish and surprisingly spacious and economical. 

It is not a hot-shoe sports car, but it is decently brisk and light on its feet. The Scirocco can be made to react with readiness – and it is now much happier to scythe quickly around tight corners than it was in its 2008 launch guise. 

It seems that there’s now just enough rear-wheel steer to give the car’s nose a bit more keenness when pushing into bends. The electro-mechanical steering system also makes a decent fist of giving the driver an idea of what’s happening at the tyre’s contact patch and where the front wheels are placed on the road.

The engine is sweet and smooth enough, but the power band is very narrow. Although the torque peak happens at just 1500rpm, the real power band is between 2000 and 4000rpm, after which the engine’s output tails off markedly, so short-shifting is the best way of making decent progress. 

The upside to the warm performance is remarkable economy. Even though the engine was just 1000 miles old on our test car, this six-speed manual returned 48mpg and 44mpg respectively on two inter-urban commutes. 

The practical stuff includes a big, very deep, boot and 1000-litres of load space with the rear seats folded. And those rear seats – although tricky to access – are suitable for adults in both head and knee room. The high-back front seats are also notably comfortable. 

You also get the usual VW attention to detail: a fine driving and pedal position and a slick clutch and shift action. The interior is restrained and nicely considered, especially the control placement on the centre console and the console storage. 

Downsides are probably limited to the chassis’ habit of following the undulating contours of the typical British road surface and some intrusive tyre drone: but that’s hardly unique to the Scirocco. 

Should I buy one?

This Scirocco manages to look sharp and be practical and economical, as well as being a pretty brisk and handy car to drive. Interestingly, it seems a very popular car with its owners and one that seems to hold its value well on the second hand car market. I can see why. 

The Scirocco offers a hint of the exotic, while remaining eminently useable both as a city car and a long-distance machine.

Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI 125

Price £20,455; 0-62mph 9.3sec; Top speed 125mph; Economy 52.3mpg; CO2 125g/km; Kerb weight 1280kg; Engine 4 cyls in line, 1395cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 123bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 148lb ft at 1400-4000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

9 October 2014
48mpg is NOT remarkable economy. If I ever got as low as 48 real MPG from my 1.6 petrol Focus on the reasonably fast inter-urban commutes that make up most of my driving, I'd think there was something going seriously wrong with it.
However, my Focus has 97k on it, whereas the 1.4TSI is unlikely to make it to 10k before it blows up, unless they've managed to sort out it's huge problems?
The only remarkable thing is that you think Autocar readers are really that gullible...

10 October 2014
pauld101 wrote:

... whereas the 1.4TSI is unlikely to make it to 10k before it blows up, unless they've managed to sort out it's huge problems?...

I think its just the twin-charger, higher output 1.4 engines that have had the (well documented) reliability problems.
I've always liked the Scirocco: Even though its not the most capable car of its type, and is based on an older model now. I think its one of the more interesting looking VW models, and this base petrol model is quite appealling to me.

10 October 2014
First, this engine is turbocharged (and had 1000 miles on the clock) so 48mpg is pretty bloody good driving across London taking in the Westway and A4. I ran this engine in the Skoda Octavia and even with a thousands of miles running in, it wouldn't crack 43mpg on a sensible m-way cruise.

Secondly, the troublesome 1.4 TSI engine is the 160bhp Twincharger which has a turbo and a supercharger.

20 October 2014
The last two cars I have owned have had the 1.4 tsi twin charger (180bhp) engine with a combined mileage of 50k miles never had a single issue, I think I'd rather not have a car if my only option was a 1.6 petrol focus

9 October 2014
Firstly to get over 48mpg, presumably you're talking of around 50mpg+, on an urban commute is amazing for an old C segment petrol car, I'd keep but check the odometer.
Secondly is the 1.4 TSI engine unlikely to make 10k because of HUGE PROBLEMS, really, and your evidence is??? There's millions around already, it goes in Seat's, VW, Audi's etc and I know from personnal experience some are going strong after 15k+ as you'd expect

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

13 October 2014
xxxx wrote:

Firstly to get over 48mpg, presumably you're talking of around 50mpg+, on an urban commute is amazing for an old C segment petrol car, I'd keep but check the odometer.
Secondly is the 1.4 TSI engine unlikely to make 10k because of HUGE PROBLEMS, really, and your evidence is??? There's millions around already, it goes in Seat's, VW, Audi's etc and I know from personnal experience some are going strong after 15k+ as you'd expect

Thanks, odometer fine and calibrated against the 1/10 kilometre posts on motorway. Actual figure 51.937 over last 1772 miles, all one-up. Actual vehicle 1.6 petrol Ghia, fitted with an undertray from a diesel.
For evidence, just google. Does seem mainly to be the twin charged unit, but what does this say about VW's engineering competence? I'm sure you're right, some have got to 15k+. I'm sure they're going like a bomb. Right up to the moment they go 'bang'.

9 October 2014
Only Volkswagen could make a sport coupe out of Golf - that trails the donor hatchback in almost every comparable category - and yet get away with it. Scirocco that was once an acceptable proposition for those with vague sporty pretensions is now to Volkswagen what Rapid is to Skoda. The sooner they're are culled the better for the companies reputations unless the two have deep reaching upgrade plans for these motors.

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